Guwahati: Middle-distance runner Jinson Johnson created history last evening as he shattered the oldest standing record in Indian athletics at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati.
The 27-year-old from Kerala clocked 1:45.65 seconds to win the gold medal in the men’s 800m event at the 58th National Inter State Championships.
In doing so, he erased the 42-year-old mark of 1:45.77 seconds set by Sriram Singh at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
It had taken a hard-fought race to push Johnson to the mark with the first four athletes in the race all managing to run inside the qualification guideline of 1:47.50 seconds set by the Athletic Federation of India for the Asian Games.
Taking silver behind Johnson was Haryana’s Manjit Singh, who clocked 1:46.24 seconds – a mark that was faster than the old meet record of 1:46.26 seconds set by Pankaj Dimri at the 2010 edition of the Inter State Championships.
Claiming bronze was Mohammad Afsal of Manipur who clocked 1:46.79 seconds while coming in a credible fourth was Haryana’s Beant Singh, who clocked a personal best of 1:46.92 seconds.
Also writing her name into the record books was Assam’s own Hima Das. The 18-year-old sprinter clocked 23.10 seconds to equal the meet record set by Rachita Mistry all the way back in 2000. Das also booked her spot for the Asian Games by finishing under the AFI guideline of 23.50 seconds.
Pipped to second place was Orissa’s Dutee Chand who clocked 23.41 seconds. While Chand will be disappointed at having lost out to Das, she would be heartened by the fact that she had also qualified for the Asian Games owing to the fact that her timing matched the AFI’s guidelines.
Coming in third place was Srabani Nanda who crossed the finish line in 23.87 seconds.
Despite falling short of the AFI’s guidelines, M Sreeshankar continued to impress.
The 19-year-old from Kerala clinched gold in the men’s long jump, yet his best effort of 7.76m was five centimeters short of the AFI’s guidelines for the Asian Games.
Sreeshankar, who had battled past a case of appendicitis a few months ago, started off strongly, recording jumps of 7.76m in both his first and second efforts but was unable to improve on that mark.
Claiming second was Mehakpreet Singh of Punjab who was trailing in fourth place before he produced a jump of 7.63m in his final attempt. National record holder Ankit Sharma completed the podium with a best of 7.61m.
There would be brief excitement in the men’s pole vault competition too with two athletes setting meet records but neither would be able to come close to the AFI’s qualification guidelines for the Asian Games.
Kundan Kumar of Haryana cleared 5.15m to erase the old meet record of 5.05m set by Ganjan Upadhyay in 2007 while Siva Subrami of Tamil Nadu managed to equal that height. Anoop CB of Kerala took bronze with a clearance of 4.95m.
There would be disappointment for Muhammad Anas who was expected to come close to the National record in the men’s 200m race.
Anas had come into the tournament having set a personal best of 20.76seconds a few weeks back and had appeared in good form in Tuesday’s heats setting a time of 20.95 seconds.
However, he only managed to clock 20.97 seconds in what was still a gold medal winning performance.
Tamil Nadu’s Elakkiya Dasan came in second with 21.31 seconds while Parveen Kumar of Haryana clinched bronze with a time of 21.43 seconds.